Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union Presidential Address 2011


President Obama at the State of the Union Address, January 25th, 2011

"This is a man who can give great speeches and has. This (was) not one of them." - Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and political analyst
 
 American Constitution declares that from time to time, the President of the United Stated shall "give to the Congress information on the State of the Union." For 221 years American leaders have fulfilled this duty. The State of the Union gives the President an opportunity to not only report on the condition of the  Nation, but also to outline his legislative agenda.

On January 25, 2011, President Obama delivered his second annual address to a joint session of Congress from the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. 

Since 1911, the House and Senate have sat by their party affiliation on opposite sides of the aisle for the State of the Union address, but this year however, politicians decided to mingle with those who normally sit across the aisle. This might have looked like an expression of a new "brotherly" mood in the Congress, but was rather a tactical device to make sure that the applause for the President came from all over the Chamber. President's popularity might have gone up after his speech in Tuscon, but the Republican opposition to some of his policies remains as strong as ever.

Many  members of the Congress wore black and white ribbons on their lapels to show support for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Arizona shooting.

Although the President's speech was greatly anticipated, it turned out to be disappointing and flat. It did not have the visionary quality of the speeches made by JFK or Reagan.

The speech was devoted almost entirely to the domestic issues. President Obama offered a wide-ranging program for revitalizing the American economy and retaining the global economic leadership. His agenda rested on five pillars: spurring innovation, reforming education, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, removing barriers to business success, and regaining fiscal balance. President addressed the need for reconstruction, but we still have to wait to see how this agenda is going to be implemented and where the money to finance it will to come from. President mentioned, though, that the richest two percent of the Americans will have to give up their tax privileges.

"In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work, and do business. Steel mills that once needed a thousand workers can now do the same work with hundred. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection. Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies.”  - President Obama.

"President Obama has stated his case and staked his ground. Now he faces the challenge of moving from vision to specifics, and of persuading a profoundly skeptical new Congress that growth will take more than spending cuts, that government is not a drag on the economy, but rather a vital partner in the task of spurring growth and creating jobs." - William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution 

The President sounded like a community organizer talking in front of a college audience. People just have to work a bit harder and they would certainly get there where the Chinese or the Koreans are right now...

Americans would not be going back to the Moon any time soon, but instead, President challenged the Nation to replace its energy sources. He wants the country to drive electric cars and produce eighty percent of electricity from clean, renewable sources by the year 2035. How about making America completely independent from foreign oil by the year 2020? President who wants to be seen as a visionary is quite shortsighted at times.

By Dominique Allmon